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Buffy Season Eight Vol. 7: Twilight

on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 00:00

Throughout the course of the Buffy Season Eight comic book series, Buffy Summers and her group of friends, family and fellow slayers have squared off against numerous enemies while the “Big Bad” of the season, the masked Twilight, has been content to stay in the background. Twilight’s lack of direct involvement has only added to his mystic as well as amplified the pressing question of the series—just who is Twilight and what does he want?

There have been various clues to his identity, however, peppered within the main narrative of each volume. For instance, he has made several comments that portray Twilight as someone with intimate knowledge of Buffy. “I know that move, slayer,” he tells his foe during an earlier battle between the two. “I know Buffy too well to believe she’ll be silent when she dies,” he comments at yet another point. While such dialogue may offer hints as to who the man behind the mask might actually be, Twilight has been more explicit in regards to his ultimate goal, which is “bringing the age of magic to a close.”

In the sixth volume of the series, entitled “Retreat,” Twilight finally made his move with both a literal army, courtesy of the US military, and a handful of supernatural allies. Buffy and her followers had traveled to Tibet in order to release the mystical energy that their enemy was using to track them. Under the guidance of former werewolf Daniel “Oz” Osbourne and his wife Bayarmaa, they were able to do just that—unfortunately it made them vulnerable when Twilight showed up anyhow. Buffy was able to summon the three giant-sized goddesses who had absorbed their power but while they easily overpowered Twilight’s forces, the trio likewise showed no mercy towards the formerly potent slayer army. To make matters worse, one of the goddesses swatted Buffy Summers onto a nearby mountain top where she laid unconscious for hours. When she finally awoke, however, Buffy discovered that not only did she have her powers back but that they had been enhanced to give her the ability to fly.

The penultimate volume of Buffy Season Eight, simply named “Twilight,” thus begins where “Retreat” left off. The forces of both Buffy and Twilight have been decimated but the three goddesses continue to wreak havoc. When witch Willow Rosenberg suddenly regains her former powers, she attempts to combat the goddesses but is overwhelmed by their strength. While Buffy had initially been reluctant to share the news of her own transformation, she realizes that she has no choice if the trio is to be stopped and thus takes off—literally—into the sky. She instructs Willow to use her magicks to dig a large hole and then quickly overpowers the goddesses and returns them to the earth from which they came.

Buffy’s superpowers brings out the inner Geek in original Scooby Gang member Xander Harris and he immediately initiates a series of tests to determine the full extent of the slayer’s newfound abilities. Can she run faster than a speeding bullet? Check. Is she more powerful than a locomotive? Check. Is she able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Check. Other skills, however, are not as evident, including teleportation, mind reading and the ability to spin a web any size.

While Xander and Buffy further explore comic book clichés, the slayer’s sister Dawn turns into Cassandra from Greek mythology as she argues that Buffy’s enhanced abilities can only lead to danger. “The monkey’s paw,” she repeats over and over again in reference to W.W. Jacobs’ tale of “watch what you wish for,” but no one listens to the younger Summers. Willow, meanwhile, arrives at the unsettling conclusion that Buffy’s new powers are derived from the released energy of the 206 slayers who have died at the hands of Twilight.

“Buffy, your powers—they’re not a gift for defeating the goddesses,” the witch tells the head slayer. “You’re sucking it from every slayer who dies.”

As for the “Big Bad” himself, Twilight has returned to his home base with three captives in tow—Faith Lehane, Rupert Giles and Andrew Wells. “When Buffy realizes what she’s missing, things will start to happen very quickly,” he remarks in regards to his hostages. “The truth. At long last, the manifest truth. Buffy will finally see.” To remove the three from within the protection spell that Willow encircled around the slayer camp, Faith, Giles and Andrew were replaced with witch Amy Madison, the murderous—as well as skinless—Warren Mears and an unnamed US army general. Buffy is able to spot them with her telescopic vision (yes, she has that ability as well) and the trio agrees to assist Willow in locating Twilight’s lair. Once exposed, Buffy Summers takes to the air like a super jet and slams her opponent into the sky.

Moments earlier, Twilight had been speaking to his hostages, specifically Rupert Giles. “Every watcher wonders if his slayer might be the girl,” he tells the last remaining watcher. “And you’ve had more reasons than any.” Giles, in turn, slowly realized exactly “who” Twilight is but Buffy’s interruption prevents him from saying more. The reveal is thus left in the slayer’s hands as she finally unmasks the “Big Bad” to be none other than her former lover Angel. The vampire-with-a-soul insists that he is not evil and does not want to fight Buffy but the slayer ignores his remarks as she pummels her one time ally.

“You really don’t know how much worse it could’ve been?” Angel responds as justification for his actions. “Powerful people—governments—lining up to wipe out the ‘terrorists’ you created. Demons weren’t thrilled either. I put on a mask, talk about ‘master plans,’ distract them. Keep the body count as low as I can while I push.”

Willow Rosenberg was wrong in regards to the source of Buffy’s newfound powers. As Angel explains that his actions were designed to “push” Buffy, a rescued Rupert Giles offers his own explanation. “What Buffy’s experiencing right now is the pull of something far more ancient, far more powerful and far more destructive than anyone in this omniverse has ever felt before,” Giles tells the others. “If the universe is smart enough to create vampires and slayers to balance each other out isn’t it also possible that, well, that the universe is also smart enough to have a far bigger plan for them?”

That “bigger plan” is known as Twilight. Buffy Summers has survived the test of being a slayer like no other slayer in history by living as long as she has, coupled with her decision at the end of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series to share her power with the thousands of potentials in the world. She has evolved into something greater than either human or demon and the universe has answered by creating a new world for her and the vampire Angel who serves as her soulmate. Of course, that also means the destruction of the current world as the growing rift of Twilight—that new universe—has allowed a multitude of demons to enter the dimension in the most destructive of ways.

The universe may have selected Buffy Summers as the force needed to build a new and better world but the slayer herself wants nothing to do with it. “I never do what I’m meant for,” she tells Angel. She was “chosen” for a reason after all, and it was not to oversee the destruction of everything and everyone that she has vowed to protect. Buffy thus rejects Twilight and returns to her original world to stand with her friends against the apocalyptic forces wreaking havoc upon them.

Buffy and her allies, who are ultimately joined by Angel, do their best against the onslaught but the demons keep descending in waves. One such “evil” entity, however, turns out to be something entirely different—a spaceship of sorts that lands in the vicinity of the group. “Oh, this is gonna be bad,” Buffy remarks as a lone figure emerges.

“You wanna put these demons down and end this ‘Twilight’ crap once and for all?” the leather duster-clad Spike rhetorically asks them. “You talk to me.”

Throughout the Buffy Season Eight comic book series, numerous friends and allies from the past have made appearances and played roles in the overarching narrative. As the season heads to its final conclusion, arguably two of the most important forces in the life of Buffy Summers—Angel and Spike—have entered the storyline, setting the stage for a dramatic ending like no other.

Anthony Letizia

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